After a dominating performance in which he topped all practices, took the pole and then lead all 27 laps at Phillip Island to take the win, Casey Stoner garnered enough points to capture the 2011 MotoGP Championship.
Stoner, who turned 26 on race day for the Australian Grand Prix, clinched the MotoGP title with two rounds remaining. The race at his home circuit of Phillip Island was his ninth victory this season and 15th podium in 16 rounds; the only trouble Stoner had in 2011 so far was a DNF at Jerez due to a controversial crash with Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi.
Joining Stoner on the podium was San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli and Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso.
Following is what the riders were saying following Phillip Island MotoGP:
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "I don’t think anyone could plan things to happen better than they have today! The race was incredibly difficult, the conditions we’re very tough. I built up an early lead as I saw the rain coming in, but I wasn’t sure if it would hit us.
I basically ran into a wall of rain, there wasn’t any warning at the back part of the circuit and I came into the last turn and the rain started hard.
"I nearly lost control and thought for sure I was going to end up in the gravel. I managed to control it and maintain the gap to everyone and thankfully bring it home for the win, but it was a little bit nerve-racking for sure.
"I’m really sorry that Jorge [Lorenzo] had the accident this morning, he’s great competitor and I think if he’d been here racing today things might not have turned out the way they have, I hope his operation goes well and he’s back racing as soon as he feels fit.
I can’t thank everyone enough, my team, Repsol, all our sponsors, everyone that has worked so hard all year, thank you!"
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "It’s been very tough today, I didn’t feel comfortable throughout the weekend and the race didn’t start in the best way either. I had a problem with the wind at the start, I almost lost balance and I had to put the left foot on the floor at the same time as the red light went out, so I had a bad start.
"The first few laps were not so good, then I recovered slightly, I overtook Andrea [Dovizioso] and fought with him but the front tire was finished in the last laps. When I tried to pull away I was loosing the front, so I couldn’t keep him behind and then the rain arrived.
"It’s not been a good weekend for me, I want to say congratulations to Casey [Stoner] for his title, he’s been the strongest this season, always on the podium, with no mistakes, so he deserves it."
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "It was a difficult race as we expected, this track is very tricky, as are the weather conditions. To return on the podium and arrive in front of Dani [Pedrosa] here at Phillip Island is a very good result for us and it was our target before getting here.
"I think we could have even finished in second position but when Dani overtook me in the middle of the race we lost contact with Simoncelli, then I retook the position when the rain came, but on the final lap I didn’t have enough grip to push hard in the last few corners.
"Anyway we are still fighting for the third place in the Championship and I’m sure Dani will be strong in the last two races, but we will try to do our best until the end. Casey [Stoner] has had an amazing season, he is the fastest rider at the moment, so congratulations to him for the title."
Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing Ducati GP11 MotoGP) says: "I am very happy with how it went today. Yesterday we were very unlucky in qualifying session and today things have turned in our favor.
"At the beginning of the race I lost a little time to overtake Loris, but once I made it, while trying to reach Edwards and Hayden, a little bit of rain made me go wide and this made me lose about ten seconds. So I fought with the group for the ninth position until four laps left in the race when the rain was back on the track.
"I saw the other riders go as fast as if the track was dry and so I saw them slipping in front of me one by one. In addition, some rider have returned to the pits to change bikes, but I had confidence to continue with the bike with dry set up and this helped me to conclude in an excellent sixth place!"
Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing Ducati GP11 MotoGP) says: "I started well but after a few laps between the pain at my shoulder and the weather changing I tried to manage the race to complete it. When there was four laps left I felt heavy heavy rain coming down just before the final straight and then I thought it was appropriate to enter the pits to change bike. Unfortunately it ended up not being the right choice because I probably could have finished the race a couple of positions ahead, but the ninth is still satisfactory considering my physical condition."
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: "Conditions were really tough today, with wind and rain off-and-on at different parts of the track. My start actually wasn’t amazing, but I think everybody else got away worse than I did. I was in a good position, but I really had no grip at the rear from the very beginning, and although I tried as hard as I could, I couldn’t defend much when guys started coming past.
"Eventually I blistered the rear tire and was just trying to make it to the finish, and then when it started to rain harder, it felt really slick. I just about lost it, and when I saw Bautista go down, I decided to come in and change bikes rather than risk doing the same. It’s another seventh place, but I was closer to the front than I’ve been in most races. I felt good apart from a few places, like Turn 6, and the bike was fast. We’ll try to base our future work on those positives."
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: "The crash was really a shame because I could have finished fifth. After a pretty good start, I lost some ground to Nicky and Bautista, but then I found my rhythm and managed to get them both. Unfortunately, I lost the front when I passed Alvaro, and I’m really disappointed because I didn’t expect it.
"Evidently, despite all our hard work, we still haven’t solved this problem. Anyway, both in Japan and here, we could have collected some good points, and instead we leave with none. That said, we’re still working, and we’ll have a number of important things to try in the next tests."
Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1 MotoGP) says: "That was all about surviving because the conditions might have looked great on TV with the sun shining but the wind was horrendous. We know the wind plays a big part here normally but today it seemed particularly bad and it was impossible to judge when a gust was going to hit you from one lap to the next.
"I got into a pretty good rhythm and I was happy to be running a consistent pace in eighth when all the late chaos happened. It is never a good feeling when you see rain spots on the visor with slick tires on but there was only rain in a small part of the track. I knew it was a flag-to-flag situation but I never thought about pulling in for the rain bike.
"I was just riding as hard as I could but a s safe as I could in the last couple of laps and fifth is a great result. I just want to say congratulations to Casey because he has been awesome all year and he’s a worthy World Champion. As a fellow rider you have to admire what he’s done."
Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1 MotoGP) says: "I’m pretty disappointed because it has been a very difficult weekend, so to get a top 10 would have been a very positive way to sign off. I’d been having a really good battle with Abraham, Aoyama and de Puniet and I was confident I was going to finish at least eighth.
"But I came into Lukey Heights and couldn’t even see any rain and the next thing I was down. The weird thing is Aoyama went down right in front of me on the same wet patch, so it was like synchronised crashing. I had no idea why I’d crashed and someone in the crowd told me it had rained really quickly and then stopped. It is a pity because that cost me a decent result but I’ll be looking to get back in the fight for the top 10 in Sepang next week. I tested twice at that track in the winter and while it was tough, I’ve gained so much experience since then that there’s no reason why I can’t have a strong weekend."
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V MotoGP) says: "I am delighted! It was a really tough race with changeable conditions throughout and every time I saw raindrops on my visor I was unsure whether I could push or not. I managed to put a little gap on Dovizioso and Pedrosa but when the rain came Dovizioso was able to catch me and make a pass.
"I managed to stay with him and follow his lines so when the track was dry again on the last lap I was able to throw everything at him and make the pass. I had been second for the whole race and I didn’t want to give up on it until the end. It was nice to finish directly behind the new World Champion. I feel sorry for Lorenzo and I hope he is fit and back on track again soon."
Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini MotoGP) says: "It has been a very difficult race because of the strong winds and the mixed conditions. I really wanted to have a good race because these are my last few races in MotoGP but this weekend has been particularly difficult with the crash yesterday and then again today in turn nine when a sudden rain shower hit that part of the track. I am really disappointed and hope to make up for it next week in Malaysia."
Toni Elias (LCR Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "This was a difficult race for us because the weather was pretty bad and in these conditions we always suffer very much. I can not warm up the rear tyre properly and since the beginning of the race I have suffered edge grip issues. We have been lucky because some riders crashed out in the last part of the race and we could finish in the top ten. Hopefully we can adjust the bike for next race in Sepang where the temperature is totally different."
Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSVR MotoGP) says: "It was a good, but in the end disappointing race for us today. We didn’t start so well, but I was with the front group and very close to the podium battle.
"After a few laps, when the tires started to lose their grip, I started to fight with Nicky and we lost time to the others. After I got away from Nicky I tried to concentrate to get the most from the used tire and do my best.
"I just had to finish the race to get a fifth place, which would have been a good result here. The conditions were difficult though because during the whole race it was raining in some parts of the track and each lap seemed different. In turn 10 I saw some drops of rain on the screen and before I could even think to react I crashed – the surface was very wet and I just couldn’t do anything about it!
"I am sorry for the whole team because they did a fantastic job for the whole weekend and we started from the front row for the first time this year. We were in fifth in the race and looking good, so I’m really sorry for the crash – those guys deserved something from this weekend. We now have to look forward to the next race and take all the positives from here to Malaysia and I’m sure we can go well there."